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Holy Cross Magazine welcomes letters regarding the magazine's content. Letters intended for publication must be signed and may be edited for style, length and clarity. Opinions expressed in the letters section do not necessarily reflect the views of the administration or the editorial staff.

Holy Cross Magazine Fall 2004

1969: The Missing Season
Michael Neagle’s article, "1969: The Missing Season," was a splendid account of a most notable happening in collegiate football. I had the privilege of participating in the epidemiologic investigation of the outbreak that befell the varsity football team for the Worcester Department of Public Health.

Comments by team members assembled 35 years later - and the excellent photographs - offered a vivid recollection of the event that occurred at a time when the hepatitis viruses were not yet identifiable in the laboratory. In 1969, the diagnosis of hepatitis A virus infection was made by clinical impression and epidemiologic circumstances.

Appreciating that virus laboratory testing would be developed in the future, serum specimens from the team members were serially collected, frozen and stored in the Infectious Disease Laboratory of Dr. Thomas O’Brien (Holy Cross alumnus - class of 1950). Years later, when laboratory methods for identifying the hepatitis viruses became available, the specimens were thawed and studied. They tested positive for hepatitis A virus, confirming our clinical impression.

The accomplishments of all the athletes interviewed by Mr. Neagle are most impressive. They may have lost their football season to hepatitis A virus, but they certainly won success in their professional careers.

Leonard J. Morse, M.D.
Worcester, Mass.

***

In response to Michael Neagle’s article on the lost football season of ’69, I want to commiserate with all the guys who were my teammates when I was a senior in the 1967-68 season. I want to verify that they would have had an outstanding season if it had been a normal year, and no hepatitis virus had struck. What an ignominious way to kill the great Crusader gridiron tradition!

I personally verify that Lamb, Moncevicz, Doherty, Cooney, et al., were very good players who deserved to play at the highest levels of college football (as the Holy Cross schedule called for back then). Keep your heads held high, guys!

John Vrionis ’68
Roswell , Ga.

***

I read the article about the hepatitis A outbreak with a mixture of interest and annoyance. Yes, it was interesting that these men had a bad experience but were able to learn some valuable lessons from it. But, it’s annoying to see a relatively mild disease covered as though it was a major medical crisis.

Perhaps my view was biased.  I contracted hepatitis C in 1962, but due to the latency of this serious disease, it was not diagnosed until 1999. Unlike hepatitis A, there are no vaccines for hepatitis C. Hepatitis A rarely causes complications or death, but hepatitis C is a major cause of liver failure in this country.

What about a feature article on alumni who have overcome more serious viruses, such as hepatitis C or HIV?  I am taking the New York State bar exam in February 2005, and I know there must be alumni who have contracted these diseases.

Peggy Michaels ’80
Brooklyn , N.Y.

***

In the Footsteps of Ignatius
I enjoyed the article, “In the Footsteps of Ignatius,” and think it’s a wonderful opportunity for the College’s young faculty members to learn of the Jesuits’ origins. However, I do have one correction. You incorrectly identified Montserrat and Barcelona as being “in the Basque region of Spain,” when, in fact, they are both located in Catalonia, not the Basque region. These distinct regions have different language, history and ethnicity. I am of Catalan heritage and visited Montserrat with my cousin (whose first name is “ Montserrat”) and family who live in Barcelona. It is a beautiful, spiritual place. Again, great story.

Dana St. James ’77
Mansfield, Mass.

***

Edward P. Jones ’72 and The Known World
In my freshman year at Holy Cross, my English professor asked me: “Why do we read novels?” I replied, “Novels give us insight into human nature.” My professor was pleased with that answer, but little did he realize that I was not talking from personal experience, but only had repeated something I had heard elsewhere.

Having just read the Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Known World, by Edward P. Jones ’72, I have now received in abundance insight into human nature. Mr. Jones, to this reader, may well be Faulkner’s literary successor. His style and subject matter are both reminiscent of that great novelist, while his characters expose how our actions are often predetermined by our mental gestalt.

The Holy Cross community can be forever grateful to the admissions officer who, in 1968, wrote “accepted” on the application of a marginal Black applicant from Washington, D.C., and to the good fortune of Mr. Jones having chosen to attend the College.

Clinton Sornberger ’63
Poinciana, Fla.

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